“Who shut up the sea behind doors, when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment, and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it, and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther, here is where your proud waves halt?’” Job 38:8-11
God separates light from dark, sea from land and the righteous from the unrighteous.
Yesterday afternoon, I went out shopping and when I returned to my car, I found the following hand written words scrawled in blue pen on a white sheet of paper and attached to my windshield -
“Please do every one a favor and learn how to park!’ Signed, “the public.”
Indignant, I looked at the note and then at my tires and sure enough, I was parked a little over the line; well, maybe just a little more than a little, but, not that much! I then glanced around at the cars parked near me and wondered who had the gall to write such a note and who would make such a big deal out of such a small thing. After all, I had only gone a little over the line.
It didn’t occur to me until this morning, that my little parking episode had provided the perfect opening for today’s post.
When I started researching these Psalms, I came across a foot note in my Bible that really excited me, a foot-note, which at least for me provided the key to understanding the prophetic implication of this particular group of Psalms.
According to my foot-note, Psalms 113- 118, (the Egyptian Hallel) is broken in to two parts, when read at Passover. The first two Psalms (113 & 114) are recited before the pouring of the second cup and the last three Psalms (115-118) are recited before the filling of the fourth cup. Now this is very important. As someone who loves Passover and has taught on it many times, I was blown away, when I understood the implications of this.
Let’s start here:
There are four cups of wine at a Passover Seder. In order, they are:
The cup of Sanctification, the cup of Judgment, the cup of Redemption and the cup of Praise.
If Psalms 113 and 114 correspond with years 2013 and 2014, then, we would expect to see someone or something sanctified (set apart) before judgment (wrath) falls. *not to be confused with the chaos of 2012, which is a type of judgment, but, is not the wrath that falls during the last 3.5 years of the seven-year period.
Now, Sanctification is a big word which simply means to “set apart”.
Passover, of course, did exactly that. By bringing his people out of Egypt, God separated them unto himself. In the last days, there will be another group of people sanctified or “called out”. We find these people listed in Revelation chapter 7, and they are the 144,000, 12,000 Jewish men from each tribe.
Starting with Psalm 114 and working backwards –
The 114th Psalm opens with a recounting of the Exodus events -
“When Israel came out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of foreign tongue, Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion. The sea looked and fled, the Jordan turned back; the mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. Why was it, O sea that you fled, O Jordan that you turned back, you mountains that you skipped like rams, you hills, like lambs?” Psalm 114:1-6
Now, why would it be important for the 114th Psalm to start out this way? If God is going to call out this great group of people, who will be instrumental in bringing a remnant to faith in Christ during this period, what better way than recalling the great events of the Exodus. Don’t you just love the wording used, this was a time of incredible joy for the Father, “the mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs!” This was marvelous, this was incredible, God had chosen a people for himself and called them out of Egypt.
Life in Egypt was darkness, life in Egypt was slavery, life in Egypt was hopeless – but, God delivered them! Out of the chaos of 2012, a light shines, God raises up 144,000 spirit filled dynamos that will powerfully preach the message of the cross. And, people will be saved! A remnant to be sure, but, nevertheless, people will be saved!
Psalm 114, therefore, serves as a reminder that God is not yet finished – even in the midst of chaos God has set apart, chosen and sealed a people for his purposes.
The Psalm ends with these words:
“Tremble, O earth at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turned the rock in to a pool, the hard rock in to springs of water.” Psalm 114:8
The indication here I believe, that the same God who brought water out of the rock, will turn even these terrible events of the tribulation period in to springs of living water for those who will hear and believe.
How many will be saved during this period, I don’t know. But, I do know that we are told in the book of Zechariah that 2/3 of the population of Israel will die, while 1/3 will survive – therefore, of the estimated six million people living in Israel today, at least two million will come to faith in Jesus Christ at some time during this period. (Zechariah 13:8)
Backing up to Psalm 113 – the year that follows on the heels of the opening of the six seals during the year 2012. The Psalmist opens with these words:
“Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord. Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forever more. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.”
God has begun a mighty work; world-wide in scope which will culminate in triumph over his enemies. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, THE NAME OF THE LORD IS TO BE PRAISED!
The Psalmist reminds us in verses 4-6 that God is exalted ABOVE the nations, enthroned on high, he stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth.
“The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth.” Psalm 113: 4-6
Can you imagine? God stoops down to see who is making such a fuss. The nations raging against Israel are really raging against God. In their vain imaginations and their pride, they think by defeating Israel, they can defeat God. They don’t want their ten commandments and they sure don’t want their Messiah. They want their self-made, man-made religion without any restrictions, without any boundaries and without any responsibilities. And, as long as Jews and Christians are around, it’s a sore reminder of a God who says otherwise.
During this chaotic time period, those who are poor and needy ( in other words, those who see their spiritual need and respond to the call of Jesus) will be lifted from the ash heap and the dust to be seated with princes.
“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people.” Psalm 113:7-8
Every Passover Seder begins with an invitation to Passover. A call for any one who is hungry or thirsty to come to the table. The implication, that what ever your needs, they will be met at the Passover table. And, of course, in a very large sense it is true, as the Passover Seder is a wonderful picture of the redemptive work of Christ. Jesus, who also said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” To be seated with the princes, is to be seated with Christ.
And, the Psalm concludes -
“He settles the barren woman in her home, as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord!” Psalm 113:9
The barren woman (Rachel) matriarch of the Jewish people, was the mother of Joseph and Benjamin; Joseph, a type of Christ. Israel, will never be moved from their land. And, Jew and Gentile believers, their happy-off spring of whom there are many, will share in this blessed inheritance.
I started todays post with my little parking incident and though minor and of no real consequence, I have to admit, how quickly, I took offense at being shown the error of my ways. There are laws and boundaries that govern even nature itself. Only man has the choice and the capability of defying the creator. Humbleness is not easy to come by and without the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit, not one of us would see our sin and how desperately in need of a Savior, we really are.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper who love thee” Psalm 122:6 Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus! Cindy